Effective Standards-Based Practices for Native American Students: A Review of Research Literature

From the report abstract: "Research and related literature were reviewed to summarize evidence on the effectiveness of different instructional practices for helping Native American students meet standards. In English language arts, 16 reports were reviewed. In mathematics, 8 reports were reviewed. Findings were mixed for the effectiveness of teaching Indigenous language and literacy first, followed by English literacy and bilingualism. In some content areas, Native American students participating in these programs met grade- level expectations; in some areas, they did not. Findings were indeterminate with regard to the effectiveness of culturally congruent practices for Native American student achievement in reading and mathematics. Promising practices were identified, such as successful collaboration among community members, teachers, researchers, and teacher education faculty for creating culturally congruent classrooms with an emphasis on developing language and thought, but causal conclusions could not be drawn about the effectiveness of these conditions for helping students meet standards." 

Content Comments 

The methods used in this research review summary were reasonable in light of the subject matter and overall purposes of the study. Communications quality is fairly standard for a literature review. The overall findings, although mixed, should be of value for those interested in specific methods that have been attempted to improve educational outcomes for Native American students. Of note, the authors conclude: "positive relationships between improved student achievement and certain program characteristics and classroom practices were found, including: Teaching Indigenous language and literacy first, followed by instruction in learning to read and write in English and promotion of bilingualism (Holm & Holm, 1995; Rosier & Farella, 1976); Emphasizing reading comprehension and peer interactions and frequent monitoring of student progress (Tharp, 1982); Using culturally congruent curriculum materials and instruction in mathematics (AKRSI, n.d., Year Four Report; Brenner, 1998)." The researchers are to be commended for reporting studies related to Native American students in science.